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The Problem Biometric Authentication Solves for Financial Services

There's no denying that the frequency and impact of data breaches are on the rise. Every year the record for the number of individuals affected by a breach rises, with 2017 surpassing 2016 quickly. There were more than 5,000 confirmed data breaches in 2017 with 7.8 billion records compromised, and that's just what we know about. This steady increase in data breaches clearly demonstrates how antiquated existing identification security is. Passwords and tokens simply aren't working.

Biometric authentication helps address this growing problem. Biometrics offer a simple solution for consumers and financial institutions alike that helps to reduce fraud, effectively authenticate customers, and authorize financial transactions. Acting as strong authentication to secure brick-and-mortar institutions, online transactions, and high-value trading, biometrics also increases customer trust and improves reputation. Below are three key problems biometrics can solve for financial service firms.

Fraud Reduction
Biometric authentication allows financial firms independence from passwords, PINs, and tokens, which are susceptible to attack. After all, passwords don't prove who you are – they only prove you know something about the person you say you are. They can be easily cracked or stolen and used to commit financial fraud.

Biometrics, however, are unique for every individual, which is why biometric authentication is already commonplace in many industries, such as law enforcement, and beginning to see heavy adoption in the fintech industry. In a world where hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, biometrics allows financial institutions to prove, beyond a doubt, who is requesting access.

Convenient Authentication
Financial service firms already know better security is needed, but it also has to be convenient to the consumer. This is where biometrics comes in. Gone are the days of remembering passwords and speaking with a help desk representative to reset them. Financial service firms can verify a customer through several methods using biometrics.

However, the savviest of institutions have learned that to be successful, different applications require different levels of security. I have seen voice recognition used to secure the contact center channel, fingerprints for mobile payments, facial recognition for remote customer registration, and iris used for digital payment authorization. Each method serves as a convenient, frictionless solution to customer authentication while providing multi-factor authentication.

Secure Mobile Payments
The mobile industry is constantly evolving, and the innovations occurring in mobile banking exemplify this. However, the biggest challenge facing companies is how to secure user data and financial transactions. I'm a firm supporter of biometrics over other authentication mechanisms because of its unique ability to work across a wide range of financial channels.

For example, a token may work for authenticating a customer into a web-based banking service whilst that customer is at home, but it fails when that same customer is checking their balance on their smartphone at work. Tokens also cause headaches for employees and employers alike, from losing and having to replace them to using them in the first place. This can be solved with a scalable biometric authentication platform linked to a mobile biometric SDK that can leverage multiple biometric modalities. A one-stop authentication solution for financial services that supports customer authentication across all of its channels, matching the right biometric technology to context and the risk.

Due to the increase in data breaches and banking and the role customer trust and loyalty in the success of banks plays, financial service firms should continue to search for ways to adopt biometrics. When integrated with an existing security system, biometric technology can ensure financial service firms have the highest level of authentication security possible. 

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